Homemade Idaho® Tots

Chef Zeitouni's Homemade Idaho® Tots secured the Grand Prize in the Idaho Potato Commission's Side Dish Challenge held at the 2010 South Beach Wine and Food Festival's Burger Bash. A $5,000 donation to Florida International University was made on behalf of Chef Zeitouni.


  • 2 large Idaho® Russet Potatoes, washed thoroughly
  • 2 shallots, peeled
  • 6 parsley sprigs, picked and roughly chopped
  • 4 scallions, green part only, chopped
  • Pinch white pepper, finely ground
  • Pinch sea salt, finely ground
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Chef's Note: Carefully read the directions and complete the processes from start to finish without letting the potatoes get cold. It is the warm starch from the barely cooked potatoes that holds the tater tots together.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place potatoes on baking pan and cook for 20 minutes or until when squeezed the potatoes barely "give." Remove from oven and set baking pan on top of oven to keep warm for another 20 minutes. (This will allow the center of the potatoes to barely cook so they will not turn brown after shredding. The goal is to have the potatoes barely cooked but not to the point that they turn to mashed potatoes when grated.)
  3. Peel the potato skin back using a butter knife or similar. Try not to remove any of the flesh underneath the skin as it will help bind the tater tots.
  4. Using either a shredder attachment on a food processor or a hand grater, shred the potatoes into a bowl. Then press the shallots through the shredder attachment or if doing by hand, dice finely.
  5. Add the shallots and the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly. The mixture should still be warm and sticky to the touch. At this point, the potatoes can either be pressed into a cookie sheet to a 1-inch thickness or hand formed into balls of the same 1-inch thickness. Wet your hands or rolling pin so the starch will not stick. Once formed allow to cool.
  6. Press onto a cookie sheet and cut into 1-inch by 1-inch squares.
  7. Heat deep fryer or sauté pan with half inch of vegetable oil to medium high heat and carefully place the tater tots in the oil. Turn the potatoes so all sides are cooked evenly to golden brown. Season lightly with a pinch of sea salt and serve. Enjoy!
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Yield: 4 servings

Mark Zeitouni
The Standard Spa and Hotel
Miami Beach, FL

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